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Thursday, May 14, 2009

best gateway. ever.

So yeah, we've all heard about it.


You know the Gateway to the West and all that.

But honestly, in person, it's really pretty amazing.
Rising 630 feet above the ground, the Arch overlooks the Mississippi river. And from the top of it, I was very sure that I saw a snake in the water. David told me that I did not, that it looked too much like a branch for his taste. Whatever. I preferred to call it serpentine and the fact that it wasn't moving could have been due to a number of things. Sure, one could have been that it was in fact a branch, but let's not jump to conclusions, people. It could have just been a very lazy snake. Just because I am at times inanimate, and could look like a branch if it is dark and you squint, people don't start doubting my existence. Which is the same courtesy I was trying to afford the snake.

Um, or the branch.
The guard at the entrance to the underbelly of the Arch was quite friendly. I told him I liked his arch and he replied with a thank you, since I did build it and it was hard to miss the twinkle in his eye. He then informed us that the actual designer, Eero Saarinen, came up with the idea by holding each end of a chain and letting the links dangle in between. I guess the inverted arch struck him and voila! you've got the tallest man-made monument in the country.

Once I got over the shocking news that the security guard did not in fact make the Arch, I actually found that whole chain process a little disappointingly simple. I mean, really? Just dangle a chain? Come on, famous Finnish designer whose name I don't even know how to pronounce--I could do that!
No-brainer idea or not, the inside of the Arch is quite fun. Simply put, there are these little pods that travel up to the top. You get inside and start climbing and just for a second it feels like you could be in Star Trek (now that the new movie is so great, Star Trek references are pretty cool. So spread the word.).

And at the top, you see the whole city sprawled out before you and the Mississippi winding it's way around the border. The Arch even shifts with the wind a bit, which is disconcerting until you realize that most likely your time to go will not be in the Gateway to the West.

Because what are the chances?

Afterward we sprawled out in the grass underneath, talking about who wants kids and who doesn't, my wedding (simply because they asked), religion, and being generally stupid when we weren't being serious. The sky was a great blue comfort, the warmth from the sun a kiss. Tonight I did the show with little itchy red marks on my back from the grass, but I didn't mind.
They were worth it after today.

16 comments:

The Husband said...

You know, they built it from each side of the river, meeting at the top. If their math or measurements had been off by something like .01 of an inch, the top wouldn't have met in the right place and the whole thing would have looked more like a broken wishbone than an inverted chain.

jason said...

Not to get all LETHAL on your, but watch out in St. Louis. there are parts of that town that are really really dangerous crimewise!

jason said...

Drew, I don't see a river in between the two side of the arch in those pictures...

Wallford said...

The Husband lies.

I like the playful tone of this post. Also, I liked the use of the word underbelly right below the picture. Clever!

Jessica Latshaw said...

This is true--Drew, I didn't want to call you out, but the river was definitely NOT between the two ends of the arch...

And Jase, already checked LETHAL and I am watching my back!

Wallford, thank you for the compliment!

Jessica Latshaw said...

Besides, Drew so rarely ventures forth with a comment here that I definitely didn't want to push him back into his hermitish virtual commenting ways!

jason said...

I fear the damage is already done to drew's commenting psyche.

Jessica Latshaw said...

yes, this is true. I told him he was called out on this blog and he still hasn't ventured forth to see it for himself...Pray that his fragile psyche is restored...

jason said...

But he was joking right? Or did he really think the Gateway Arch spanned the Mississippi?

Jessica Latshaw said...

I don't think he WAS joking (she says in the kindest, most understanding way she can...).

The Husband said...

My sincere apologies, everyone. There is no river.

Everything else in my comment was true though.

Way to grasp onto one insignificant error and run with it though, Jase.

Writers . . .

jason said...

All I said was that I didn't see a river! And that's barely an insignificant part of what you said because it would be awesome if it spanned the mississippi river, like the colossus of rhodes or something.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Wait, Drew--there IS a river. It's just not underneath of the arch, is all.

kathiek said...

Wow, I would love to see that arch up close! I did get to see it from afar (and got a couple pictures from the car window), when we went to Missouri for Nathan's graduation from Basic Training...we just didn't have the time to see it any closer.

JohnnyD said...

Back in the STL! Hoping to see ACL one last time...

A fun little tidbit, Eero Saarinen also designed this classic contemporary chair:
http://www.classic-design24.com/shop/uk/media/images/saarinen_stuhl_513_big.jpg
The original is in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to draw during a drawing class. I've already tried. lol

Jessica said...

Thanks for info, johnny d!

And btw, we all love st louis--it's been one of our really fun cities, for sure!